Everyone at some point has felt inferior in some way, especially when it comes to making comparisons with close people such as friends or family. These concerns can be related to physical appearance or intelligence, certain personal aspects can be classified as virtues while others are defects. Finally, elements of a social or cultural nature come together that pressure people to follow a series of norms.

All the aforementioned aspects contribute to the development of mental conditions that reflect their impact on the health of the affected people. Some have a greater propensity compared to others, one of these conditions is known as the Alexander Complex. It can be associated with the inferiority complex due to their similarities, however in this case parents and children are specifically involved.

The Alejandro complex presents the youth and children who feel they are not capable of achieving the same achievements as the father, or even surpassing it. It is an intense emotional state that becomes a limitation in order to achieve a more positive affective relationship.

What is the Alexander complex?

The Alexander Complex is a mental state characterized by the conflict and rivalry that a son feels with respect to his father . It can be manifested in multiple ways but mainly the rejection shown by children by their parents can be easily observed. Depending on the intensity of the emotions it turns into a pathological resentment.

Understanding that a complex is basically a psychic image with a strong emotional charge, this is incompatible with a normal attitude or consciousness. That is, this is a complex that, like others, is incompatible with the will and conscious intentions, therefore it reveals aspects such as moral conflicts or emotional trauma.

It could be argued that this is a complex that reveals the unconscious desire to become a better person compared to the parent. Individuals who develop this type of complex may have previously experienced some type of conflict directly related to the father. 

There are also other types of complexes that relate children to their parents in conflictive relationships of different kinds, this is the case of the Oedipus complex and the Electra complex. However, the particularity that Alejandro’s complex presents is that the relationship is more tense, emotions such as resentment, anger and the desire for revenge for example are combined .

The reason why this name was chosen to refer to this particular complex is due to a historical reference. It is the story of Alexander the Great who had a troubled relationship with his father named Philip II. Various reasons influenced the development of a relationship marked by competitiveness, the Macedonian hero never hid his desire to surpass his predecessor.

The triumphs of the father in various military and war campaigns are some of the most mentioned reasons. But some historians also point out that family coexistence could never be carried out in a normal way, consequently from an early age Alejandro would gradually develop resentment for the lack of affective attention. 

What are its characteristics and examples?

The main characteristic of this complex is the manifestation of behaviors that indicate rejection or discomfort with respect to the father figure. It is usually mentioned that it is a complex that only develops in male patients, although it is true that statistically most cases are presented in this way; It does not mean that there are impediments for it to occur in female patients.

Like Alexander the Great when he considered his father Filippo of Macedonia his main rival, people who develop this condition will try to overcome any achievement of the father at all costs . Sometimes it can be confused with the inferiority complex, the similarities are in the inability to show self-confidence or abilities to overcome.

In general, people who suffer from the Alexander complex are in a state of frustration . This translates into suffering from numerous associated emotional disorders such as depression and low self-esteem. In addition, it can worsen due to affective deficiencies within the family environment, these problems within the home negatively influence the emotional state causing serious problems.

People who suffer from this complex tend to find themselves in a marginalized social situation or, on the other hand, have difficulties to relate to the environment. They may exhibit behaviors such as excessive complacency towards others, difficulty making decisions as well as shyness. In a generalized way, it can be said that they are individuals who are  incapable of recognizing their own merits ; because they are always focusing their attention on the parent.

It is observed that these individuals are more likely to react negatively to criticism . They may not even be tolerant of opinions or contributions that have a constructive purpose, they will always show a defensive attitude. Usually any comment from the parent will be taken as an attempt at provocation or destabilization.

What are your causes? 

There is no single or definitive cause that can be the starting point for the development of this complex. One of the possible scenarios is one where the father is a figure that represents the triumph or conquest of important achievements worth mentioning. Become a benchmark for the child, thereby accruing continuous pressure from the family and social environment to equal or exceed them.

It is also important to mention that some individuals are more likely to develop a psychological condition marked by feelings of inferiority or guilt. This insecurity often hides a conflictive origin, it can be some type of trauma that occurred during childhood; in which the father figure is involved.

It may be a situation in which two individuals who have individually developed two different complexes face each other. This is the case where the father has the superiority complex and the son the inferiority complex, the difficulty of maintaining effective and healthy communication becomes much more difficult in these cases.

Finally, in certain family settings, relationships between members are framed by personal interests that compete with those of others. The attempt to emulate or exceed the achievements of the parent becomes a necessity to gain acceptance from the other members. Likewise, wear and tear in relationships affects children’s self-esteem. The father figure becomes a limitation that does not allow the son to have personal achievements.

Normally this is a condition that begins to develop during childhood, in this period of time children are very receptive to the opinion of adults. This is how traumas begin to have an important influence, this is especially relevant when the father figure shows a behavior that is not entirely positive with his son . By not feeling capable or intelligent enough they will tend to withdraw.

How is it overcome and what are the most recommended treatments? 

The first step in overcoming this complex is to stop making constant comparisons. Understanding that all people are different and possess their own qualities, we must finally realize that parents and children do not have to fight each other. All have both virtues and defects, the best way to regain confidence is by recognizing those positive aspects identified in the person himself.

It is important to modify the pattern of thoughts related to inferiority, negativism and irrationality about themselves. These thoughts do not make any kind of contribution, instead they create limitations that even affect the emotional state. That is why people usually do not feel capable of taking certain actions and decisions, consequently this is a complex that can evolve, worsening the symptoms if it is not treated in time.

When professional psychological help is required, psychotherapy is usually used . This is the most common treatment because it allows patients to modify thought patterns and behaviors that have a negative nature. The patient is given all the necessary tools to help him increase his self-esteem and also his communication skills, consequently family relationships can be significantly improved through these practices.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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